jueves, 6 de octubre de 2016

A Night Without Stars, by Peter F. Hamilton

(Disclaimer: English is my second language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.)

Review Soundtrack: I suggest reading this review while listening to Warrior Angel, composed by Steve Buick as a part of the soundtrack for A Night Without Stars (Spotify).

As you may know, I am a big Peter F. Hamilton's fan. I consider him one of the top science fiction authors of the last few decades and his Pandora's Star is probably my favourite space opera novel ever. Thus, I was really looking forward to A Night Without Stars, especially because I had quite enjoyed The Abyss Beyond Dreams, the previous book in the series. Unfortunately, I found this new novel to be a bit of a disappointment. 

The beginning of A Night Without Stars is quite interesting. The first chapters are fast-paced, full of sense of wonder and feature the return of some characters from The Abyss Beyond Dreams as well as some nasty aliens from other novels set in the Commonwealth universe. They may not be as surprising and exciting as the opening of the previous novel, but they are solid and entertaining, exactly what I have come to expect from Hamilton. 

However, after this promising start, things change, in my humble opinion, for worse. The setting is restricted, mostly, to the planet Bienvenido, a couple of centuries after the events of The Abyss Beyond Dreams. For reasons that I'd rather not mention (it would be kind of spoilery), there is not much technology but not telepathic abilities either, making the worldbuilding a bit dull to my taste. Also, the political changes in the planet have given rise to a new, authoritarian government that is not very subtly depicted (and criticized). 

The plot did not interest me very much, either, with many pages devoted to what seemed to me repetitions of the same topics and many chapters focused on chases and escapes with not enough tension or intrigue. Not even the appearance of a beloved character was sufficient to keep my attention, and I confess that when I reached the final quarter of the book (which is extremely long) I began skimming and skipping full pages. There are some surprises in the final chapters which are more interesting than the central part of the story, but I am not sure that redeems a novel which dragged and meandered for so many pages as this one did.

All in all, A Night Without Stars is, by far, the book by Hamilton that I've enjoyed the less of all that I've read and, as I mentioned above, quite a disappointment. Your mileage may vary, for the reviews I've found online are mostly positive (and even enthusiastic), but my friend Leticia Lara, who read the novel at the same time as I did, seems to share my opinion (you can read her review in Spanish at her blog Fantástica-Ficción). 

(You can also read this review in Spanish/También puedes leer esta reseña en español  

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